333 kilometres – all steps towards solidarity!
In February 2012, Qeto Gadelia’s twenty-four-year-old son died in hospital in suspicious circumstances. After the government failed to investigate his death , Mrs Gadelia decided to walk from Zugdidi to Tbilisi, hoping that she would be able to bring this fact to the attention of the President of Georgia, the Georgian media and the people of her country . She also hoped that she will be allowed to meet the President in his residence in Tbilisi, and that the involvement of the head of state would help her find justice.
Unfortunately, Mrs Gadelia’s tragedy appeared to be one of many cases ignored by the government , because its investigation is not in the interest of the regime. Qeto Gadelia arrived in Tbilisi and, after waiting in front of the presidential residence for four days and nights , was forcibly taken back to her hometown of Zugdidi by Georgian patrol police. After this , Mrs Gadelia, whose appeals appeared to have been rejected by all the country’s authorities, left Georgia.
The family members of the dead young man blame the Georgian patrol police for the tragedy. Their suspicion that the government is responsible is reinforced by the efforts to conceal this fact made by the authorities and state-run television channels. With the help of the media, the government tries to construct an official reality which conceals the fate of many bereaved mothers like Mrs Gadelia (in many cases they are quite literally concealed). The number of murders and the misuse of power by the patrol police is terrifying, and the trail of responsibility points towards the authorities. Qeto Gadelia is one of many who are looking for justice, like the mother of Sandro Girgvliani, a young man who was killed by the government, a victim of its so-called ‘struggle for justice’.
We , Georgian students living in Berlin ,want to express our solidarity with this particular tragedy and with people who suffered from all regimes. We are organizing a three-day action/performance, and our aim is to walk 333 kilometres, the same distance that Qeto Gadelia covered from Zugdidi to the presidential palace. The march will start on 18th of September at the embassy of Georgia in Berlin, and will continue uninterrupted until we cover 333 km around the embassy. Please feel free to join the march by any way – symbolically , physically or virtually. Everyone can join us as we march around the embassy and take a first step towards solidarity.
We do not expect that this case and the many others like it will be investigated while the current government remains in power. Our aim is not a dialogue with the government , but to emphasise once again their responsibility for this act – just as for us the action/performance will be an opportunity to forge solidarity.
LANGUAGES OF REVOLUTION
Zeitgenössische Kunst im Lichthof
des Hauptgebäudes der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
...es kommt darauf an...
by Violent Idiot
Postgraduate M.A. Course “Art in Context” at the Berlin University of the Arts
CONVERSATION WITH DEMOCRACY
Arthub Summit: The Making of the New Silk Roads, Bangkok. 2009
We need to think about what a contemporary Silk Road might be: a route that serves as a way of exchanging opinions, sharing views about life, getting to know each other better, learning about what excites and what troubles us, of showing solidarity, and of getting a wider picture of the world.
What might be a first step towards this? Perhaps taking risks. Taking the risk, for example, of leaving our false, private paradises, and assuming some responsibility for what’s going on outside them; taking the risk of at least thinking about human potential, and of asking whether we really are in solidarity with each other; and taking the risk of showing solidarity, if we are not.
The performance I’m presenting involves me and a water cannon. In it, I try to walk towards the cannon while its jet of water is directed at me. The natural resistance offered by the water is here used as a means of enforcing inertia and stasis, of resisting risk itself. It is aimed against the risk of imagining something different, of refusing to be burdened with the past. I believe that today the only alternative left us to be to be absolutely different.
The origin for this performance was the November 2007 demonstrations in Tbilisi. These were the first political demonstrations where Georgia’s ‘democratic’ government used water cannons against protestors. The water cannons and the trucks on which they were mounted had both been imported from European Union. The government had therefore introduced, along with the institutions and practices of western democracy, its methods of repression as well.
We witnessed the drama of political ideals enacted when Nikusha Chkhaidze pushed himself against the barrage of a directed firehose. We saw the beauty in the individual, ineffectual gesture against control. Given how much seemed to be at risk (Nika’s body), we might have been satisfied with that, but then the stakes increased. When Onno Dirker—playing the part of the repressive state apparatus—lost control of the vehicle of repression (the hose) we saw that power spray everywhere. No inroads were created in that moment, not even a mapping. But there was a registering of power (and knowledge) being everywhere and all at once. This gave us an inkling of what lay ahead for us in the time still to come, in the proliferation of voices and strategies and practices from across continents. It gives us now a hint of what can (and did) happen as we push through the didactic measures we have inherited, against the propulsive, unidirectional flow of knowledge, and plunge into work that is performative, documentary, risk-taking. ... full version
Seph Rodney is pursuing a PhD in Cultural Studies within the London Consortium Program PhD candidate in the University of London—Birkbeck College.